Julius star of school champs

2001-04-03 21:31

Pretoria - Leigh Julius, 16-year-old Cradock schoolboy, was one of the star competitors at the 2001 (Ussasa) South African National Secondary School Athletics Championships at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg over the past weekend.

He was one of various athletes who won two gold medals at the meeting which produced a number of outstanding performances and at least one new national record.

Marthinus van der Vyver, of Boland, established a new South African Under-18 record in the 110 metres hurdles when he won the event in a brilliant 13.48 sec. The previous record of 13.49 sec was set by Stephan Lindeque in 1991.

Since then the heights of the hurdles had been raised but fortunately common sense prevailed and in order to bring South Africa back in line with world athletics, the heights of the hurdles and the mass of implements had been changed once again.

Van der Vyver, who is also an outstanding sprinter, was defeated in the 100 metres by Christiaan Krone of Rustenburg, who clocked a fast time of 10.66 sec.

The meeting started on a bad note on Friday when the photo finish apparatus created many problems that led to wrong placings and numerous appeals.

It further led to long delays and dissatisfaction amongst athletes, officials, team managers and spectators. At one stage the meeting was about three hours behind schedule and athletes did not know when to warm up for their events.

Most of the problems were sorted out and on Saturday things went much better.

Julius, one of South Africa's most successful athletes at the Pacific School Games in Sydney last year, recorded a brilliant double when he won the Under-18 400m with a fast time of 46.64 and the 200m clocking 21.02 sec.

The latter time put him in third position on the SA Youth all-time list while the 400m clocking had only been bettered previously by three athletes.

Both times easily bettered ASA's stiff qualifying standards for this year's second World Youth Championships to be held in Hungary.

Godfrey Mokoena, of Southern Gauteng, showed promising talent in the jumping events. Apart from clearing 2.10m in the Under-18 high jump û which matched the required mark for the World Youth meeting - he also won the long jump with a distance of 7.17m.

Bonolo Maboa, of Krugersdorp, also impressed by winning the 800 meters 1 min 51.93 sec while he also won the silver medal behind Julius in the 400 metres.

LJ van Zyl of Free State's Grey College won the Under-18 400m hurdles in 51.06 sec while another Free State hurdler, Corne Claassen, representing Eastern Free State, won the Under-19 400m hurdles in 59.20 sec.

She also won the 100 metres.

The versatile Brenden Harmse of Gauteng North won the 100 and 110m hurdles in the Under 20 age group with times of 10.73 and 14.43 sec.

The hurdles final was an exciting race in which Harmse and Martin de Bruyn of Mpumalanga were both credited with the same time while Danie Lubbe, also from Gauteng North, clocked 14.48 sec to pocket the bronze medal.

A tremendous race can be expected in the national Junior Championships later this month.

Shaine Morrison of Eastern Province also clocked a personal best when he won the 400 metres (Under-20) with a fast 46.94 sec.

Christine Kalmer, of Southern Gauteng, who was South Africa's most successful athlete at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Belgium the previous weekend, shook off any jet lag and achieved convincing victories in the 1500m (Under-15) and 3000m (under-17).

She achieved personal best times in both events.

The following juniors also impressed: Justine Robbeson (Southern Gauteng), winning the Under-18 javelin (49.10m) and the long jump (5.82m); Ilna Kruidenier (Mpumalanga), who won the 90 and 300m Hurdles (under 16); Marli Knoetze (Northern Province), winner of the Under-16 shot and discus; Sonette Viljoen (NWP) with a fine throw of 49.76 m in the Under-20 javelin; and Michelle Louw (Gauteng North) with winning times of 24.35 and 54.28 sec. in the 200 and 400m (Under-20) respectively. û News24